Vantage point: Revised Aston Martin tested

Can the updated Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster deliver more thrills than before? Matt Joy finds out

  • By Matt Joy, wheels magazine
  • Published: 16:28 January 17, 2013
  • Wheels

  • Image Credit: Supplied picture
  • That V8 up front is always busy, always vocal — but not loud — and is a constant encouragement to explore fully the performance on offer.
Image 1 of 3
123

So much is going on at Aston Martin it’s hard to keep up. The superlative-busting One 77, the all-new Vanquish, the big step forward with the latest DB9; all reason to get excited about this very British brand. But even further down the range there is good news.

For the latest model year, the Vantage range has benefitted from a series of enhancements and detail improvements to build on its existing talents and deliver even more of the thrills of the original car.

The first thing you notice, however, is that the Vantage Roadster is not short on presence. Roof up or down, the curves of its bodywork are both graceful and aggressive, with flowing curves leading into sharp creases, resulting in a body that appears to have been poured over
its wheels.

Under the bonnet lies the thrilling 4.7-litre V8 naturally aspirated engine. With 420bhp on offer there is certainly no shortage of performance, delivered to the rear wheels either by a six-speed manual or seven-speed Sportshift II automatic that combines smooth shifting in traffic with paddle-activated rapid shifts on demand.

Arguably of even greater benefit are the chassis alterations, comprising of a heavily revised steering, which has a new power assistance set-up and a quicker steering rack, dropping the ratio to 15:1 for sharper response. The high-specification tyres have been increased in width by 10mm to give even greater grip, while the brakes have been upgraded to 380mm discs with six-piston callipers for unshakable braking performance.

Unlock the Vantage and you push, then pull, the flush door handles and swing open the swan-wing doors, opening outwards and upwards at the same time to give a large aperture, whilst taking up less space in a car park. You are greeted by a cabin that instantly smells of rich leather and welcomes you in.

To start the Vantage, like all Astons, you slot the key (or Emotional Control Unit as Aston dubs it) into the top of the  dashboard. Do so and there is an instant burst of noise as the V8 snarls, letting you know right from the start that it means business. Push the firm clutch down and first gear engages with a meaty positivity as you roll forward.

That V8 up front is always busy, always vocal — but not loud — and is a constant encouragement to explore fully the performance on offer. But the Vantage is far from hyperactive — a commute to work would be no bother whatsoever.

Related Links

The seats are highly adjustable and very supportive. Noise levels sit comfortably between those of a limousine and a hardcore sports car and the ride comfort is good despite the firmness of the overall set up.

Roof down, the experience is equally impressive. For the full wind-in-hair experience you can have all the windows down, but even then buffeting at high speed is well within an acceptable range, yet with the windows up and the impressive wind deflector in place there is hardly a breeze at all and only the slightest increase in noise.

Slip it out of its cruising gait, drop down into second gear then squeeze the throttle wide open and the full transformation takes place. The engine reaffirms its presence with a delicious warbling bark, the whole car lunging forward instantly. As the revs build, the sound rises in tempo and volume to culminate in a terrific howl as you approach the red line and slot the next gear.

Going from 0-100kph takes a very brief 4.9 seconds and the top speed of 290kph is never in a moment’s doubt. This is a genuine performance car, despatching any section of open road in a matter of moments and it is a complete delight to fully exercise the performance. Yet you can haul it down from those speeds effortlessly, the strong brakes delivering effortless performance time and again.

The chassis completes the performance car portfolio too. The upgraded steering impresses right from the start with improved weighting and snappier reactions that pay dividends even in town. But on the open road you feel everything that is going on, and you are constantly keyed-in to the car’s grip levels — of which there are plenty.

You have to work hard to get near to the Aston’s limits, the near-perfect weight distribution helping enormously, and the result is a car that wants to play along with you. The two-stage ESP system is always there to help too, should your enthusiasm get the better of you.

One thing the Vantage Roadster is not short of is rivals. But when you pull up on your driveway, lock and walk away, there aren’t many that demand you stop, turn around and take one last look before you go.

Specs & ratings
  • Model V8 Vantage Roadster
  • Engine 4.7-litre V8
  • Transmission Six-speed manual, RWD
  • Max power 420bhp @ 7,300rpm
  • Max torque 470Nm @ 5,000rpm
  • Top speed 290kph
  • 0-100kph 4.9sec
  • Price NA
  • UAE friendly
  • Plus Vocal V8, wind-in-the-hair thrills, gorgeous looks
  • Minus Rivals are getting better

Packed with the latest local and global motoring news, first drives, up-market car products, bikes and more

Wheels
Lifestyle & Entertainment columnists
  • Russell Hemmings
    Life the Hemmings way

    Life coach Russell Hemmings on fears, anxieties and the human psyche demystified

  • Gaby Doman
    Gaby Doman: Notes to myself

    The everyday ups and downs of being a modern woman, according to this globetrotter

  • Uma Ghosh Deshpande
    The Dubai Insider

    TV personality Uma Ghosh Deshpande guides you through the city’s society gatherings and stories

  • Pratyush Sarup
    Design diary

    Dubai-based interior designer Pratyush Sarup lets us in on the world of design

  • Bharat Thakur
    Yoga for you

    Bharat Thakur guides you through practices and wisdom of this ancient science of exercising

Life & Style editor's choice
Quick Links

  1. Business

  2. Sport

  3. The latest Entertainment news

  4. The latest Lifestyle stories

  5. Blogs

  6. Opinion

In Life

  1. UAE food features, reviews and more

  2. Shopping

  3. Motoring

  4. Travel

  5. Gadgets

  6. Beauty & Fashion

  7. Interiors

  8. People

  9. Health

  10. Education

Latest in Life

  1. New BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé tested in Dubai

  2. Boyfriend jeans a hit on the Milan runway

  3. Horoscope: September 19, 2014

  4. Unifying force in Islamic jurisprudence

  5. Why do so many women get Alzheimer’s?

  6. Uma: Celebrities offer charities more than money